Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cultural Divides Part 2

One of the first friends I met, Lady M a Nashville transplant. Our families spend time together often

“Manners and behavior can take you places where money can’t, no matter what color you are"

Mr. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson 1949

Upon further investigation of cultural division it appeared to show its face in areas of fear and superiority/inferiority complexes. Call it what you'd like; sexism, classism, racism, caste system, intellectualism, etc it all comes down to the "golden rule" of treating others the way you would like to be treated. That said, not everyone wants to be treated with respect and their principals may not align with your way of living. I love the quote from Mr. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Manners and behavior are of utmost importance in order that we as a community get along and benefit the whole. It is how you " act, interact and react" to people, places and situations that determine your experience.

Every city and community I have moved in I made sure to take the time to listen and learn as many have been there before me. I enjoy hearing tales of how the community was formed, who came and went. There is nothing new under the sun as they say. We are here but for a measure of breaths and it is my intention to breathe healthy beautiful breaths therefore I do not like spending precious moment tearing down but instead I prefer to build and create bridges.

Cultural Divides first take place in the mind and are acted out. When we judge we create separation and can not receive. Remember that judgment creates separation. Practice being open to new situations and people. Every moment is a new beginning and an opportunity to experience something you have never experienced. Let's build healthy strong bridges together and share this beautiful Earth knowing that others will come after us and be grateful we have left a blueprint for successful sustainable living!

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. "Charles Darwin

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cultural Divides?

Ruth Benedict in 1937 Anthropologist, cultural relativist, and folklorist

Experiences of Culture

What comes to your mind when you say the word culture? How about cultural influence?

The word "culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:
  • Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group

As I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington in West Seattle and lived briefly in San Diego California and also in Huntingdon Valley Pennsylvania before moving to Nashville Tennessee I have had a few experience of culture across the country. For the last two and a half years I have had many unpleasant experiences where I currently reside. The workshops, conferences and transformation coaching I have done over the past twenty odd years should have provided me with the skills to handle such situations. Sadly it did not. There was more learning and exploring for me at the ripe age of 49. I took to research and oral/written interviews of the locals to get to the "root" of the challenge.

Here I will share what I found. Ruth Benedict did extensive research and I had come to many of her conclusions twenty odd years ago.

Benedict, in Patterns of Culture, expresses her belief in cultural relativism. She desired to show that each culture has its own moral imperatives that can be understood only if one studies that culture as a whole. It was wrong, she felt, to disparage the customs or values of a culture different from one's own. Those customs had a meaning to the people who lived them which should not be dismissed or trivialized. We should not try to evaluate people by our standards alone.

Because my challenges were with brown people in the South I found this interesting.

Environment has more to do with intelligence than birth does, including how much money is spent on schools. "Southern Whites", for example, scored below "Northern Negroes" in the IQ tests administered to the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in World War I. And the per capita expenditures on schools in the South were only "fractions" of those in northern states in 1917.

Almost 100 years later the scores are still the same. Why?

After many interviews with locals and people who migrated here from the "North" I believe I am on the trail of discovering the "Truth".

Part 2 coming soon!